Nils Landgren has the impressive ability to deliver wonderful performances in a variety of settings. From funk to Christmas albums, his work with 4Wheel Drive or recordings with other ACT artists, he seems to know just what is required to match the mood. Here, in a Duo Art recording for the label with Jan Lundgren, he has done it again.
The sound world of “Kristallen” explores the moment when surfaces and edges of crystals shimmer and cast off unexpected colours; quiet magic occurs. And that is what happens on these songs performed by two musicians who know exactly how to work together. Blending traditional folk music, some of their own compositions, and covers of some well-known songs from the likes of Keith Jarrett and Lennon and McCartney, this is a varied programme but one that is united in the stillness and space that is created in the performances. If you like your music understated and subtle, this is the place to come.
Landgren’s vocals are an acquired taste for sure, but they fit the songs he sings well on this selection. Pared back and cushioned by exquisite playing by Jan Lundgren, the genius of the song-writing skills of Jimmy Webb and Hoagy Carmichael are revealed in all their glories on Didn’t We and The Nearness Of You, respectively. Lundgren’s performance throughout Kristallen is absolute perfection; not a single note is wasted, not one phrase is surplus to requirements.
Fittingly, Landgren and Lundgren close this master class of subtle music making with a beautifully restrained version of Abdullah Ibrahim’s The Wedding. As the final notes fade, you’re left with the sense of having just heard something rather special. A sublime album.
Blekinge; Byssan Lull; Country; Didn’t We; Hornlatar; I Will; Why Did You Let Me Go; Lovers Parade; Norwegian Wood; Olu; The Nearness Of You; Varmlandsvisan; The Wedding (56.25)
Landgren (tb, v); Lundgren (p). Gothenburg, 26-27 March 2018.